22 November 2019

Trends in Child Protection in NSW:

Implications for Families and for Practice


DATE: Friday 22nd November 2019  

TIME: 9.30am TO 4.30pm. Registration and Coffee from 9am

VENUE: LINDEN ROOM, PARRAMATTA RSL CLUB, Cnr Macquarie St and O’Connell St, Parramatta

COST: $121 (GST incl)

EARLY BIRD: 10% discount for those people registering and paying in full by 25th October 2019


Speaker: Nicola Callander, Solicitor In Charge, Care and Protection, Legal Aid NSW

Nicola Callander is currently the Solicitor in Charge of Care and Protection at Legal Aid NSW. She has represented parents and children in the Family Court and Children’s Court for close to 20 years. She also represents young people under the parens patriae jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and in guardianship matters in NCAT.

Having completed an undergraduate psychology degree and prior to becoming a solicitor, Nicola trained for nine years as a psychotherapist completing a Graduate Diploma at The Jansen Newman Institute, Sydney and at the Illawarra Gestalt Centre.

Nicola is an accredited mediator and in 2010 she took a secondment to the Children’s Court of NSW as the Senior Children's Registrar. In that role she worked closely with the Executive, Judiciary and Children’s Registrars to roll out Dispute Resolution Conferences in care and protection proceedings in the Children’s Court across NSW.

In her current role Nicola works closely with the Legal Aid Family Law Executive, solicitors and mediators as well as important stakeholders such as the Department of Justice and Communities and the Children’s Court, to review and improve the delivery of legal services to families involved in with the care and protection system. Nicola is an Independent Children’s Lawyer and an Accredited Specialist in Children's Law.


Facilitator: Dianne Starkey, Clinical Psychologist and Authorised Clinician of the Children's Court Clinic 

Dianne Starkey has worked as a Psychologist and Clinical Psychologist for over 40 years.  She has extensive experience in the treatment of children, adolescents and adults as well as having conducted assessments of children, adults and families, including assessments for various courts of NSW and Victoria. Dianne taught at the Nepean College of Advanced Education and the University of Western Sydney for over 13 years, teaching practical counselling skills, psychological assessment techniques and developmental psychology principles.  Dianne is a well-known Clinical Psychologist in the area of child protection and the treatment of trauma and has run workshops in the areas of trauma treatment, attachment theory and the treatment of attachment disorder, as well as many other topics. 


Workshop description: 

Nicola Callander will spend the morning giving the workshop participants the benefit of her many years of legal experience to assist us in understanding the main philosophy of the Child Protection Act, the recent changes in the legislation and the implications of those changes in the child protection field and for our practice as health professionals.

Nicola will explain Care and Protection: What is it? Who does it relate to? Who administers it? What are the principles applied in its administration? Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Principles.

Some key concepts will be: State Intervention, Establishment, Permanency – Restoration – Guardianship – Adoption – PR  to Minister, Variation/Rescission, Out of Home Care.

In the afternoon, Dianne Starkey will facilitate discussion of specific cases which illustrate the issues presented in the morning, including cases within the Children's Court jurisdiction and in clinical practice. Participants are welcome to provide Dianne with (de-identified) case information in advance to be discussed at the workshop or Dianne will provide the cases for discussion to help participants use the information learned in their practice.

By the end of the workshop, participants will understand:

  • The legal and psychological implications of the child protection legislation and how these might impact on their clinical practice

  • The strengths and limitations of the Children’s Court as a Special Jurisdiction governed by Statute

  • The Objects and Principles that guide decision making in care and protection in NSW

  • The legal tests that permit the intervention of the State and enliven the Courts jurisdiction

  • The ideologies around permanency as it grows increasingly underpins decision making in child protection in NSW


For more information download the registration form.  To register please email the completed form to us at

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